Title: Salt - a mermaid tale Author: Pauline Creeden Genre: YA Fantasy/Myth Hosted
by: Lady Amber's Reviews & PR
by: Lady Amber's Reviews & PR
Her kind treats her as less-than-human, but she’s always been so much more.
Mermaid life has never been easy for Verona. Her scars give evidence of her abuse. When her day of reckoning arrives, she is determined to endure exile. According to her father’s experience, exile is better than becoming a land-walker and risking her life among the humans.
However, when she saves the life of a drowning human boy, she inadvertently sets off a chain of events which force her to choose a path: stay with the humans she has become attached to or return home to a life of scorn. A savage hunter draws closer, threatening even the humans. Her only hope is to keep everyone safe until the next full moon, but those around her devise their own plans.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. It is also the 2013 Book Junkie's Choice Winner in Historical Fiction. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Reader's Choice Gold Award for Best YA Horror Novel. Chronicles of Steele Raven won the 2015 Grace Award and IndieBrag Medallion.
Bryce shot out an arm in front of Logan, stopping him from his search. “Wait. Alex told you, right? Or were you completely fooled?”
Logan glanced toward Alex whose eyes were downcast, cheeks burning red. Logan spoke through his teeth. “Told me what?”
Now he had Logan’s attention, Bryce stepped toward Alex and slapped him on the chest with the back of his hand. “That whole neighborly deal was all part of the plan. I told him to make sure you came to the party no matter what.” He offered a hyena-like toothy grin. “And here you are.”
Blood rushed to Logan’s own cheeks. This was a set up? So what was the rest of this plan? His hands fisted. “Yep, here I am. What now?”
Bryce pushed on Alex’s shoulder, forcing the boy to sit, and then sat on the cushion next to him. “What now? Nothing. Enjoy the trip. Recognize what a tool you are and how I always get what I want. Oh…and stay away from Jessica.”
It took all Logan had not to roll his eyes. His interest in Jessica was non-existent, but there was no way he’d tell Bryce. In some ways, it was a relief the alpha in this town only wanted to play games and give warnings. It was better than some of the beatings in alleys Logan had endured in middle-school. Things could definitely be worse. His lip pulled up into a half smile. “Whatever you say, Bryce. Awful expensive way to send a message. What did it cost you?”
Alex’s gaze still had not risen from the deck of the boat. The slump of his shoulders and the way he squeezed his hands around that sorry beer can kept Logan from feeling angry with his new pseudo-friend. All he felt for the guy was pity.
Bryce shrugged and pulled a plastic bag from his pocket containing an old-style pocket watch. He eyed it and gave a mock-frown. “It was fun carrying around this old thing…”
The sudden lift in Alex’s shoulders and gaze made it clear the item was something he cherished. The lanky boy couldn’t take his eyes off the glinting silver.
Bryce tossed the watch to Max with a laugh, causing Alex to start from his seat in the same direction. He dropped his beer can when Bryce gripped his shoulder and pushed him back down. Alex’s eyes dropped momentarily, but rose again as if drawn to the item. He whimpered. “Give it back.”
“So you were holding that thing hostage until Alex agreed to get me here?” Logan asked.
Alex’s eyes met Logan’s, wide and pleading. “It was my grandfather’s.”
Bryce shrugged. “It’s not like I stole the piece of junk. Alex lost it in a bet.”
“I did not,” Alex cried.
Bryce smacked him in the back of the head. “Nothing I hate more than a liar.”
Alex whimpered. “I did…but I didn’t mean to.”
They had probably forced a bet of some kind on Alex. It wasn’t surprising. Thugs came in all sizes and social backgrounds. It didn’t matter the size of the town…or the island.
Logan took a step toward Max who held the bag between two fingers and tossed it toward Ben when he saw Logan coming. The tack Logan was taking needed to change. He rocked back onto his heels and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you a man of your word, Bryce?”
Bryce’s smile faded, replaced with a frown. “Are you calling me a liar?”
Logan shrugged. “Well if you made a deal with Alex to return the watch, why does Ben have it?”
The left side of Bryce’s lip curled as he nodded toward Ben and raised a hand. “Toss it here.”
With a laugh, Ben lobbed the bag underhand toward Bryce’s upraised hand. The sneer on Bryce’s face grew into a smile that would make the Grinch proud as he lowered his hand just before the watch got there. The bag flew over the railing of the yacht into the darkness below.
A yelp went out as Alex scrambled across the bench seat toward the railing on his knees.
Several people lunged in the same direction, all looking over the railing. Logan was surprised to find they’d developed an audience with their little skit. The low hum of the motor and the music both cut off. He shook his head and joined the group. Someone produced a flashlight and shone it across the dark waves. The silver on the watch glinted, several yards away.
“There it is!” Bryce declared and smacked Alex on the back. “Now you just have to hop over and go get it.”
Alex backed away from the railing, his shoulders shuddering and his voice cracking. “But I…I can’t swim.”
The spectators all spit out in various fits of laughter. Bryce literally slapped himself on the knee before he could get a hold of himself. “No worries.” He grabbed a flotation device and tossed it in the general direction of the watch.
“There you go,” snickered Ben.
Laughter erupted in the crowd.
Alex hugged himself with his arms. He had broken out into a panicked sweat. Logan had seen this look before, dozens of times in dozens of towns. Poor Alex had fallen into the trap of being a victim of this alpha over and over again, but this time, he was on the verge of breaking. Tears welled in the lanky boy’s eyes. His grandfather’s watch. If Alex’s grandfather had meant half as much to Alex as Mama Wend meant to Logan, the watch would be worth more to him than just about anything. But if he couldn’t swim, Alex was powerless to recover it.
“I’ll get it.”
Alex’s head shot up and his wide eyes met Logan’s.
Logan was as shocked to hear the words come out of his mouth as Alex was, but he was already pushing his Vans off his feet.
The rest of the crowd had grown quiet, but Bryce laughed harder. “You’ll get it? Seriously? Alex put on an act to be your friend just to get you on this boat and now you’re going to get wet for him? What kind of idiot are you?”
Logan pulled his socks off and then his shirt.
An audible gasp went up from several of the girls when he bared his abs. Logan smiled at Bryce’s glare and pushed his shirt and cell phone into Alex’s hands. “Since you spilled beer on it anyway. You can wash it for me.”
“Are you for real?” Bryce leapt to his feet.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” Logan said and nodded to the guy with the flashlight. “Keep that on the watch for me, will you?”
The guy nodded and concentrated his beam on the silver gleam.
A light drizzle started, and Logan decided he’d better hurry before the storm really kicked up. With a laugh and two steps forward, Logan leapt over the railing and down into the darkness.